Don’t Fill Up the Void

Ajahn Jotipālo

Don’t Fill Up the Void

Why did you come to Abhayagiri? What brought you here? Simply bring that inquiry into your mind. After traveling for the last month and being fairly busy, I returned to Abhayagiri a few days ago. I’ve tended to go back to my kuṭi in the afternoons, and it’s been really quiet. There have been no expectations or demands on me. I’ve noticed in the past, after a period of busyness, when I go back to…

Birth and Death

Ajahn Chah

Birth and Death

A good practice is to ask yourself very sincerely, “Why was I born?” Ask yourself this question in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night… every day. Why are we born? We are born so that we will not have to be born again. Death is as close as our breath. These reflections by Ajahn Chah are from the book, No Ajahn Chah, pp. 4, 7, 10, respectively.

One Who Sees the Danger in Saṃsāra

Ajahn Pasanno

One Who Sees the Danger in Saṃsāra

Contemplations and reflections on death and dying are a means of focusing attention, and prioritizing where we choose to put our attention. We can ask ourselves, What is it we are becoming absorbed in? What are we letting the mind run away with? These are essential contemplations because they help us make the practice—including relinquishment and generosity—our first priority. The literal translat…

I Can Hardly Wait

Ajahn Yatiko

I Can Hardly Wait

I was at the Island Hermitage in Sri Lanka this past winter, where it was very beautiful. While there, I did a fair amount of contemplation around the topic of illness, which I found very useful to my practice. The Buddha recommends this contemplation as one of the subjects for recollection: I am of the nature to sicken; I have not gone beyond sickness. While on my walking path I would bring it to…

A Bowl Full of Light

Ajahn Pasanno

A Bowl Full of Light

I have been reading a book on Hawaiian spirituality. There’s a beautiful image that Hawaiians use. Each one of us is born into the world with a bowl full of light and for each unskillful choice we make throughout our lives—getting caught up in anger, conflict, or selfishness—it’s as if we put a rock in the bowl. The more rocks that are placed in the bowl, the less room there is for light. In our d…

All the Time in the World

Ajahn Sumedho

All the Time in the World

…As we sit here during this retreat, we have to pay attention to things that are not at all interesting. They may even be unpleasant and painful. To patiently endure things rather than to run off in search of something interesting is a good discipline, isn’t it? It is good to be able to just endure the boredom, the pain, the anger, the greed, all these things – instead of always running away from…

Stopping

Ajahn Pasanno

Stopping

The other night Ajahn Sucitto gave a Dhamma talk about the type of kamma that leads to the end of kamma. And one type of kamma he spoke about was stopping. The importance of stopping is often overlooked. We get so caught up in doing, becoming, activity, and engagement that we don’t attend to stopping—it’s a neglected aspect of our practice. This isn’t about sitting around doing nothing, because th…

PURPOSE 3

Ajaan Paññāvaḍḍho

PURPOSE 3

The way of developing meditation is not a straightforward, cut and dried process. Each person must find their own way, which means you must be resourceful, and even, to some extent, inventive in choosing meditation techniques. If you encounter a hindrance with no prescribed method to circumvent it, you will have to rely on wisdom to devise a method on the spot. You can’t depend only on what the bo…

Wisdom Over Justice

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Wisdom Over Justice

The Buddha never encouraged his followers to seek retribution, i.e., punishment for old wrongs. The conflict between retributive justice and true happiness is well illustrated by the famous story of Aṅgulimāla (MN 86). Aṅgulimāla was a bandit who had killed so many people—the Canon counts at least 100; the Commentary, 999—that he wore a garland (māla) made of their fingers (aṅguli). Yet afte…

Timeless and True

Ajaan Fuang Jotiko

Timeless and True

Now, how do you use your powers of observation to get acquainted with the breath? Ask yourself: Do you know the breath yet, or not? Is the breath truly there, or not? If you can’t see whether the breath is true, look further in until it’s clearly there. There’s no trick, no mystery to it. It’s always true, right there. The important thing is whether or not you’re true. Are you? Yes. Then that’s al…